Shift required for smartphone customer support

A new survey has found that while smartphones are becoming increasingly complex, the majority of customer support calls pertain to basic issues that can be resolved remotely, requiring little or no technical support.

The survey, carried out by Amdocs, provider of customer experience systems, polled more than 4,000 wireless device users from the US, Canada and the UK. Those respondents who had contacted a call centre classified the reason for doing so as a technical support issue, even though the majority of these issues were basic ‘how to’ inquiries, such as device configuration (how to set up email), or menu navigation (how to enable WiFi access).

These inquiries could have been resolved quickly via web self service, by Level One customer care agents, or by training the customer on basic usage at time of sale, saving service providers time and investment in support resources.

In addition, a majority of the respondents who had difficulties in using their smartphone stated that they strongly considered returning their device because they could not resolve these basic issues.

Survey highlights include: The call centre remains the first port of call, with more than 50% of those surveyed making a call to the contact centre to resolve basic support issues, taking an average of two calls to close their issue; On average, support calls lasted 17 minutes, indicating that call centre agents lack the technology and training necessary to resolve these basic customer inquiries at the first instance. As a result, consumers were frequently transferred to more costly technical support agents requiring more time, resources and cost; Notably, just 5% of those polled consulted the service provider’s website for support, indicating that smartphone web self service resources are under-utilised.

Unresolved issues result in a return trip to the retail outlet, or product abandonment, with 30% of consumers surveyed returning for customer support to the retail outlet where they purchased their smartphone, and one in three consumers considered returning or exchanging their device due to the inability to resolve issues. Also, 65% stated that they prefer self help alternatives and identified ‘knowledgeable sales representatives’, ‘faster procedures’ and ‘web-based solutions’ as ways to improve their customer service experience.

This all points to an opportunity to increase application and service revenues: One out of six consumers are unaware of their smartphone’s advanced features, or did not know how to use them. More than 70% stated that it would have been beneficial for a sales representative to explain all features at the time of purchase. The data suggest that with in-store tutorials or after-sale activities, service providers can drive additional application and data usage.

“The survey underscores that by equipping Level 1 agents and retail staff with the relevant technology and information, service providers can quickly address basic customer inquiries, reduce call handling time and increase customer satisfaction,” said Seth Nesbitt, vice president of product marketing and solutions for Amdocs. “As devices become more sophisticated, service providers must ensure they have the technology to handle all types of inquiries to quickly and efficiently resolve basic or more technical issues via multiple channels.”